I miss our daughter – some days so much I can’t breathe. I can go for quite a while without thinking about our loss, but then it hits me like a truck. And this time of year is especially hard. Our daughter’s life is so tied into the church year for me that Lent and Easter have become stronger reminders for me of her life than the date on the calendar.
This picture is (I think) of the first time I held her. She was so tiny! Born at 34 weeks but super healthy. Or so we thought. As I go back through the blog I’m being reminded of all of the details along the way of her illness, things that I forgot over the course of her short life on this earth. Every day, every week, something new was presented, and I never got the full picture of what happened until now. And it’s really hard to take.
I had forgotten that there was evidence of her infection in the breast milk I had pumped and frozen, some from the earliest days we had her at home. Was she sick that early, or am I a carrier for Group B Strep, and it was just sitting on my skin waiting for her to ingest it? Or was it because I used a plastic guard to held with nursing, and didn’t keep it clean enough? I could let my mind run away with all of the wondering and make myself crazy. For the first six months after she died, I couldn’t even let myself hold a baby. My mental state was far too fragile, and I didn’t trust my mind to stay intact. I was sure that holding any other baby would shatter me, and I would wind up in a state of total insanity.
Even today, I’m not comfortable with holding babies. But now it’s not about my mental health so much as it is my emotional well-being. I keep a tight lid on all of these feelings, knowing that the tears are only held back by a thin door that MUST STAY CLOSED. Holding a baby would open the floodgates, and I’m not ok with letting that happen in public. When I cry for my daughter, it’s an ugly cry, full of hysterics and hiccups and a whole lot of snot (gross, I know).
I hope someday I can feel safe to let the ugly emotions out, though, because I know that the church is best when we let people have their feelings and express them. Others aren’t going to feel safe with being vulnerable if I (and others) don’t demonstrate that vulnerability first.
So for now, I’m going to keep blogging, and being more open with my stuff here. I process best by writing, so I hope you’re willing to stick with me while I do. I hope this is helpful to some of you, and encouraging for some. But mostly I know I need to keep doing it for me.